Gay Tel Aviv

Tel Aviv

Tel Aviv, from the roof of the Azriel Center (south at top, north at bottom), by Ynhockey

Tel Aviv

For gay tourists Tel Aviv ought to be a bigger draw. Walking these compact streets after dark is sheer joy, in this "city that never sleeps." Most people hang out first with friends, filling the city’s hundreds of restaurants and cafes before heading off to party the night away. Dinner runs quite late, and gay-operated dinning spots, not always easy to find, have flirty waiters. Food choices are internationally diverse, and local chefs typically use fresh, local-source ingredients. Some nightclubs close only "when the last customer leaves" and unlike in Jeruselem, most clubs here stay open on Friday nights, into the Sabbath hours. 

Walking around alone or with your partner any hour of the day or night feels perfectly safe. Cruising in Tel Aviv is at least as uncomplicated as in North America, and visitors are generally considered "interesting." Daytime cafes with a gay crowd include the Judah 177 Café Bistro, 5 minutes walk from Hilton Beach and the nearby, Benedict, open 24 hours, serving breakfast all the time, both on Ben Yehuda at Jabotinsky. The cafe at the Gay and Lesbian Center by Gan Meir park is another friendly place to get oriented.

Most nightclubs are mixed and promoters are always changing venues, but there are regular nightly gay bars, clubs and beach parties too. See our list below, with links to maps and websites. Still more clubs are considered gay-friendly and/or have special gay events on rotation, especially during holiday weekends and for Pride. Some club nights are 18-19-plus, others 21-23+ --but others may sometimes admit only men in their late 20s or older. Tel Aviv has but one gay bathhouse now, Sauna Paradise, open 365 days a year for 18+ men (and bisexual men and women on Wednesdays).

The gay beach in front of the Hilton Hotel is the terminus of Tel Aviv’s fabulous annual pride march, and site of the huge beach party that follows. Even if you’ve had enough of big-city pride celebrations, this one in early June is a refreshing change, not to be missed. The Gay Center at Meir Gardens hosts Pride Village to kick off the march with shows, music, and other entertainment. All year the center has services, films screenings, lecture, classes of all kinds, and a daytime cafe in the park - a good place to get your bearings over coffee or a snack. Ga'ash Nude Beach, a bit outside the city, is also popular with gay men.  The TLV LGBT Film Festival takes place each June. They also have monthly screenings of gay cinema at the Tel Aviv Cinematheque.

There is no lack of debate here about the government's Arab-Israeli policies, or what the ultra-orthodox think about gay lifestyles, but gay gathering places are among the most integrated in this society. Politics aside, strong bonds between people and rugged determination generate a good deal of get-along tolerance, despite all the security precautions, and occasional warfare, in this most Western of Middle East nations.


Getting here

Ben Gurion Airport, between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, is the country’s main gateway. From the airport, a 20-minute taxi ride costs about $35. A train takes about the same amount of time at one tenth of that price. Board at the Airport station on Level S of the Landside Building, after buying a ticket at one of the machines. See Israel Railways for schedules.


Getting around

Walking is a great way to get the lay of the land. For bus service see the English-language pdf download on the Busline website. Taxis are abundant and relatively cheap. Bicycle rental stands are all over the city for rides of anywhere from 30 minutes, to day or week-long periods.  Israel Railways trains or Egged buses and coaches can, between them, get you around most of the country.

Tel-O-Fun, a bicycle sharing system, has about 150 stations of bicycles for rent, providing over 1,000 bikes. Daily, weekly and annual subscriptions are available, and as with other such plans in cities around the world, the first 30 minutes of the trip is free. There are over 100 km (62 miles) of bicycle paths in the city.

 

Neighborhoods

Every city has its gay thoroughfare, and in Tel Aviv the Dizengoff area of Shenkin Street, and Rothshild Blvd qualifies as the main gay zone. With several gay clubs and bars for spending a raucous night dancing until the sun comes up, it's also a great place for shopping, cafe-sitting, and dining, at any time of day. Gay beaches include the Hilton Hotel beach in the city, and the Ga'ash nude beach a short drive out of town. Plenty of hotel options can be found on Ha'Yarkon Street, along the shore, a short walk or taxi ride to both beach and bars. Old Jaffa is another area for good dining, in nooks among ancient streets.

 

Currency and Money

The Israeli shekel is the accepted currency. You shouldn’t have trouble finding ATMs downtown.

 

Cruising

In daylight or darkness, walk north from Old Jaffa along the idyllic shore of the Mediterranean Sea, detour through Independence Park to the gay beach in front of the Hilton Hotel and you’ll find all kinds of adventure. Check out Squirt.org for more.

 

Media & resources

Gay TLV Guide, Tel Aviv Gay Vibe, and  Tel Aviv Insider have maps, gay events, and listings of bars, clubs, restaurants, bathhouses and other places of interest.

Pink House not only offers exclusively gay lodging and accommodations, their website also has a weekly rundown of gay bars and party events around town.

Atraf is a online community site for everyone straight/bi/gay with all the latest party listings.

For our list of gay and gay-friendly businesses, plus performing arts venues and museums/galleries, with locations and web links, see our Tel Aviv map & listings section.

Tel Aviv Tourism and Tel Aviv Guide, have general tourist info about hotels, retaurants, nightlife, films and places to see in and around town.

GayWayTLV is a gay owned/operated travel agency for tourism, within and outside Israel; guided tours in Tel Aviv, flights and hotel reservations, in both English and Hebrew.  

 

Hotels and Guesthouses

Eden House Hotel, Guesthouse & Bistro (Yishkan 11; 972 3-545-5900), gay-owned/friendly townhouse apartment rentals at city center, gourmet dining and brunch, balconies, 24-hour concierge, business services, overnight guest laundry, WiFi.

Pink House (Raban Gamliel 17; 972-54-233-0932 ), luxury townhouse and private studio apartments in an all-gay building at city center; plus exclusively gay dormitories designed for younger travelers, Inspired by the inexpensive gay dorms of Berlin and Paris.

See these and more lodgings options, with locations and contact information, at our Hotel & Guesthouses listings on our Tel Aviv map and listings pages.

 

Going Out

17 Lounge (Montefiore 17, at Alenby), stylish gay cocktail bar and restaurant, popular with women, MixHer parties, all welcome.

Apolo (Allenby 46), nightly 10pm-4am 19+ gay dance club, Wednesday men/bears nights, theme parties, busy dark room.

Back Room (Dizengoff 150), men's bar and playspace at the Sexy Shop adult store; cruise maze, digital video cabins.

Bar Vaz (HaMekhoga 10, Florentin), mainly lesbian bar, all-welcome, no cover

Beef men-only parties, various venues: monthly Beef Jerky fetish nights, sexy men, kinky stage shows, cruising bar and play area; Beefster Tuesdays each week, beefy guys to young hipsters; and Beef Xtreme, several times each year steamy hot. perverted sexual fetish parties. Check website for dates and venues.

Block (Salame 157), gay-friendly "world class" dance party venue, great sound and lights, WE circuit parties.

Blue Pill (Lilenblum 20), men's cruise and sex bar, porn video cinema, private cabins, glory-holes, darkroom.

Bootleg Club (King George 48), gay-friendly underground club, dance bar, shows and entertainment.

Breakfast Club / Milk Bar (Rothschild 6, Jaffa), big techno dance club, weekly gay-friendly Thursday night dances.

Cat & Dog (Carlebach 23), gay-friendly underground-scene nightclub, dancing, semi-dark zone.

Dreck at Storage Club (Dizengoff 98), Wednesday night gay parties, electronic beats/ diverse concepts.

Dungeon Fetish Club (Hasharon 21), fetish/BDSM club, men/women, dancing, performances, St Andrew's Crosses, swing chains, coffin, cages, maze, kink corners; leather/vinyl encouraged.

Evita (Yavne 31, off Yehuda Halevi), 18+ gay/ mixed crowd dance club, nightly theme parties, drag shows.

Ha'oman 17 (Elifelet 3 / Abarbanel 88), upscale restaurant/bar and lounge around central courtyard garden, dance parties, stage shows; FFF gay party nights.

Notorious G.A.Y. Mondays at OCD (Lilienblum 42), 24+ gay hip hop, soul, funk dance parties, outdoor patio, food.

Polaroid (Rothschild Blvd 10), gay-friendly bar/club, Beer Museum photography exhibits, classic rock music, bar food/ burgers; gayest on Tuesdays.

Shpagat Bar (Nahalat Binyamin 43), nightly themes, 23+ mixed crowd gay bar, nightly theme parties, 80's, 90's, Electro, and Pop music.

Surfer's Beach Party by BoYling (1 Herbert Samuel promenade, at Blue Bird/ aka Chich Beach), summer Saturdays gay dances, DJ, hot guys, no cover charge, sea breezes.

Theater Club | Moadon Ha Teatron (Yerushalayim 10, Jaffa), dance club, occasional 29+ men-only gay dance parties.

For occassional PAPA Party World Tour events coming to Tel Aviv, see their website link.

 

Sauna

Paradise Sauna (Allenby 75), daily steam and dry saunas, Jacuzzi, bar; Wednesdays mixed night for bisexual men/women, other nights gay-only.gay. No-towel nights, Friday dancers and DJs.

 

Restaurants

Judah 177 (Ben Yehuda 177), daily café and bistro breakfast, lunch and dinner; gay cocktails crowd.

Benedict (Ben Yehuda 171), open 24 hours, serving classic breakfast and brunch from around the world all the time; fresh-baked bread, fresh-squeezed juices.

Eden House Bistro (Yishkon 11), international gourmet breakfast, brunch and dinner. Shakshuka, Paté a Choux, sweet and savory Goffres, benedicts; soups, pastas, seafood, kababs.

See more restaurant suggestions at our Tel Aviv map and listings pages.

- Staff - July 2014

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(1) comments

  • Wow. Xtra is promoting travel to gay-friendly Israel. Somebody call QuAIA. Sarah Schulman and Ali Abunimah will have to fly back to Toronto from the United States to lecture us Canadians.
    Posted By: Endor | at Oct 3 2013 5:22 AM
    red flag



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